Friday, 29 November 2013

Harris Tweed Nutcracker & my festive giveaway

Since my nutcracker dolls were featured in Mollie Makes magazine I have had lots of new Twitter followers and increased traffic to my Folksy shop which has been great.

I think I'm nearly all nutcrackered out but I wanted to challenge myself to make one final doll in one of my favourite types of fabric, Harris Tweed.

Some years ago a bloggy friend who used to live on Harris, gave me a bag of scraps for crafting and using the scraps was my challenge. My colour palette was limited to what scraps I had in a big enough size to use but eventually he started to take shape.

And here he is all finished, let me introduce you to Nutcracker King, Baron Von Stornoway.

I even found some plain black tweed for the boots and hat, but not quite enough for the back of the hat so it's in the herringbone.

A true Scotsman had to have fiery red hair and a sporran!

I'm quite pleased with how he has turned out because the tweed is quite tricky to sew with for the smaller embellishments.

So as we approach the festive season I think it is time to draw a veil over my nutcracker making and I would like to celebrate having my tutorial in print by holding a festive giveaway on the blog.
The gift will be a handmade surprise and all you need to do is leave me a Harris Tweed themed comment, eg. have you ever made anything in tweed or have you bought a tweed garment?

Let me have your comments by midnight Friday 6th Dec and then I can send the gift in good time. You will need to check back at the blog to see if you won.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ta dah! It's out today, Mollie Makes magazine with a tutorial by me

I have been excitedly waiting for this day since I started my project back in July.
The winter issue of Mollie Makes, out in the shops today, has a tutorial by me and I know some of you have guessed it is my much loved Nutcracker character.

My starting point was an illustration I did of a Nutcracker a couple of years ago and I turned that into these simple cut and sew kits.

This summer I had the idea to bring him to life and turn him into a 3D rag doll so I set about working the proportions out, creating his outfit and all the trimmings and embellishments which went with it.

This was prototype number 1.

Next we have prototype number 2 and you can see he's become a bit more handsome!

It seemed to take ages, actually the longest bit was photographing each stage of the 'make' and then writing it down in a way people might be able to follow it.
You know how it is when you create something yourself and you know all the sneaky ways around things but you can't quite put it into words, a bit like that!

So, eventually I got there and I sent off 3 Nutcracker dolls to Mollie Makes at the beginning of October as it turned out to be a tight deadline once I got the go ahead.

I'm absolutely delighted it has gone into print for others to try. I would like to say that I think they have edited some of the photo stages for the tutorial and therefore if anyone has a go but finds it a bit tricky, do let me know and I can send the full detailed instructions I created. It has quite a lot of embellishments which make it a bit more involved and I guess they had to keep the pages to a minimum.

I took lots of photos with Nutcrackers in festive settings but they didn't use those so I would like to display a few here. 
Most of these creations are for sale at Gallery 49 in Bridlington, one or two may find their way into my Folksy shop.

They do take quite a long time to make but I am still churning out one or two more in time for the festive season, I have even created a Sugar Plum Fairy to go with her Nutcracker! She might appear as a pattern at some point.

Thanks for sticking with all the pictures, this is one of my most exciting things to be featured in my favourite magazine.

Have a good weekend everyone, I'm going to get things ready now for my craft fair. :)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Accidentally found some interesting festive tree ideas

You know how one click leads to another, well a lady called Theresa who has used some of my caravan fabric to make bags has had her work featured in a magazine called Bespoke, I think it's in the USA, so she sent me a link to her blog to see the page.

I then started clicking around the Bespoke website and came across these lovely ideas you might like for festive trees.

I do like the ones with horizontal twigs and branches and the little paper ones are rather lovely too.

There seems to be lots to look at on this website so thank you to Theresa for sharing.

Back to stitching things now for the weekend craft fair,

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Nearly time to reveal what I've been creating

I've been keeping an exciting project under my hat for a few months now but it's nearly time to let rip which is a relief. I think I started this back in those warm sunny days of July, I worked on this idea whilst stuck in the house waiting the 12 weeks it took the roofers to turn up and do the work.
But anyway some good came out of it because my perseverance with sending press releases to magazines finally bore fruit when Mollie Makes took up my idea.

The idea is a festive 'doll' tutorial (can you guess what it is?) which I can show you just a sneak preview of below. I think for any Mollie Makes subscribers they are already seeing the winter issue arrive this week, according to a friend who has it, but I don't subscribe so I've not seen it yet. Publication date for hitting the shops is 22nd so I'll have to wait until Friday before I can reveal more photos.

The suspense is almost killing me to see how it turned out or what photos they used as it is quite heavy on detail and I had to edit a fair bit.
Back with more pics in a day or two. :)

Friday, 15 November 2013

It's what it says on the tin - a nice week in November!

Whilst we talk tins, have you seen these?

I found them lurking in the soup section of the supermarket (that sounds a bit obvious right!).
I like packaging as you may know, so I was quite excited to see the wonderful colour concoctions on these limited edition Warhol tins.

For the middle of November we have been quite lucky with bright and chilly days this week, the sun has kept me going during the day but the nights are getting very cold here, even now the heating is on. 
I have the electric blanket in operation, and then I'm bulking up the quilt with an extra one as they say it will be colder next week and all my thermals are ready to layer up into, oh what joy!

I have some new fat quarters, purchased the other day from the fabric shop in Scarborough.

By mid week I was transported back in time when I met up with one of my old college tutors. Such is the power of t'internet, my art teacher from Leeds Poly days had come across my name on Linkedin and got in touch as he lives not too far from me now. How spooky was that, I hadn't seen him for 28 years (heck that makes me feel old) but it was really good to catch up and reminisce.

I've also been crocheting frantically, I'm churning out some wrist warmers as they are quick to do and good for using up scraps. They will probably go in my Folksy shop as I'm trying to get it well stocked for the festive season.

I did a crochet collar, you can't really see here but I used some interesting cotton yarn which had sparkly bits in it.

I will finish off a good week with a trip to York tomorrow as my barista training certificates have arrived for collection, yippee!

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Crafting, thrifting & buying whilst in Scotland

I've reached the point were it's getting uncomfortably cold in this room I work and blog in so I'm slowing up with postings or anything that involves sitting at the desk and typing on a night. Instead I seem to be gravitating towards any slight heat source and crocheting!

(Note to self, must dig out all my thermal vests and long johns which I neatly packed away during those glorious summer weeks!)

As I'm sure a lot of you crafty people will understand, it's very difficult to go on holiday away from all your lovely craft stash, and not take something to do on an evening or during a long car journey. 
When I went to Scotland the other week I was in frantic making mode as things needed to go to galleries on my return so I took plenty to do. And it was great, the hotel room was warm and well lit, something I don't have here and so I was quite productive.

I crocheted this scarf in some very weird, fluffy mohair type wool which I just never seemed to get round to making as it knots easily but it is finished and lovely and light weight yet warm.

I also rattled out a few granny squares in a cotton thread, these will be another scarf, as yet unfinished!

Stuff I needed to finish for galleries were the batch of brooches below which have now mostly gone to Gallery 49 and Art & Rose with one or two left for my folksy shop.

Somewhere I visited which was a real inspiration, full of wonderful books was the WaterMill at Aberfeldy, seen below. It's got such an amazing choice of books, it is a gallery and tea room also.

Needless to say I didn't leave the mill empty handed, I bought these beautiful greeting cards.

and, this fabulous paper crafting book.

One gallery / shop which I viewed from outside (shut on the day I visited) was Boo Vake in Perth. It looked great, it has a website for online buying.

You can't go to Edinburgh and avoid tartan and kilt shops, I just love the smell of the wool and the beautiful plaids and tweeds, can't get enough of it.

Here's my little tartan purchase, a purse and butterfly brooch. I have since embellished some twiddly bits on the brooch.

Lastly, on a trip to Fort William it was noticeable how many charity shops had sprung up since my last visit a few years ago. It is always interesting checking out charity shops in a different part of the country, I still think some of my best finds and cheap finds have been in Welsh charity shops.

I found this M&S cable knit waistcoat, it's a really nice dark purple blue shade.

And I couldn't resist this necklace that looks like sweeties!

End of my trip.

I better make the most of the sun and warmth today, I think I am doing one last festive craft fair before the year is out so lots to cut and stitch!